Tag Archives: bound buttonholes


Red and black, two of my favourite colours. Speaking of which, the buttonholes have been bound.

Buttonholes on the coat. Poking the "organza" squares through.

Then, I tack them down (after judicious ironing) in the back.

Buttonhole frames tacked open

Gertie suggests using silk organza that matches your fashion fabric. I have no organza (as far as I know), and I’ve never sewed with silk in my life. I also didn’t have anything light and crisp in red. So I used this off-white (chiffon? I really suck at the names for these floaty fabrics, as I tend to avoid them like the plague. But I salvaged a crapload of this stuff after a wedding last summer. It’s gone to make the sheer JJ, and the rest will someday become a tiered petticoat.) I suspect silk organza would be a lot stronger, and maybe a more firm weave?

Don't they look nice from the front?

You can see a tiny bit of the chiffon from the front. I made extra sure when sewing on the strips that none of this showed through.

The basted strips in position

As you can see, my strips are kinda massive. (They’re also interfaced, and I added an extra layer of white interfacing to the inside of the front mostly so I could see my markings better.) I am debating whether to trim them down or leave them that way—if anyone has strong opinions I’d love to hear them.

And stitched in place by hand.

Don’t they look lovely? I will leave them basted for now (at least until we go buy buttons). Now all I have to do is get the facings to line up. Oh, and did you notice my lovely iron-mark on the front of the fabric? *headdesk* Mostly I remember not to do this. Mostly.

Anyway, back to the poppies. Are we all marking Remembrance Day today? I am lucky enough not to have any family members involved with wars of any kinds (even my grandfathers sat out WWII). I’m also not organized enough to get to any of the various ceremonies they have around. So consider this my little moment of silence.


In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918), Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lest we forget.



Filed under Sewing

How many ways to bind a buttonhole?

Tyo’s coat is going to have bound buttonholes. There’s only four, surely I can manage that, right? I know the Lady Grey was supposed to be my gentle entry into the world of bound buttonholes, but, frankly, Tyo needs a winter coat more than I need a gorgeous-but-semi-practical-between-seasons jacket right now.

The plan was to make the lips of the buttonholes out of the lining fabric (a sturdy flannel-backed satin) rather than out of the bulky, soft, and flexible fashion fabric. This plan lasted until I actually did some trials, of which I’ll be speaking of shortly. But first… there remains the issue of METHOD.

There is a plethora of bound-buttonhole tutorials out there; I will list only a few

  • Gertie’s
  • Sherry’s
  • Two on Burdastyle, this one which is most like the one in my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, and this one, which is more like (but not exactly like) Sherry’s.
  • Patty the Snug Bug recently reviewed Gertie’s technique and another one from her own sewing books, which is basically the same idea I used for my single welt pockets, but with a welt on each side.
  • No doubt there’s any number of other ones—that’s just what I remember seeing off the top of my head. If you have a favourite (or one of your own), please chime in! 🙂

A lot of VERY bad bound buttonholes

So, this afternoon, I sat down and experimented.

Now, as we all know, bound buttonholes, like welt pockets, are all about precision. Precision is one of those things I, ah, struggle with in sewing. I’m getting better, mind you—my cut pieces of fabric now almost always resemble the pattern they were cut with, I’m much better about getting my grain right, and I press as I sew quite religiously (which gets me a lot of exercise since I sew in the kitchen and press in the basement).

So you will not be entirely surprised to see that exhibit A, to the left, is, well, less than impressive. In part, the satin just wasn’t really working for me—it highlights the flaws, as it were, a little too crisply. (The satin for the final ones would have been the same fabric in black, but I have a ton of scraps left over from my winter coat lining, so I was using some of those. I did manage to achieve passable results with Sherry’s method, but still not to the point where I would be willing to put it in a finished garment (top centre in red wool, bottom left in silver satin). The slippery, fray-y nature of the satin didn’t help, either. Similarly with Gertie’s method. None of the others are even worth talking about (for this fabric and my current skills ;)… there are many sewists out there far more talented and precise than I!)

I had a bit more luck with using the fashion-fabric itself for the lips. It’s a bit more forgiving of my flaws. I was worried that it would be REALLY BULKY. It is. But, it looks softer. However, Sherry’s method is extra-bulky,  so it didn’t work so well with this method, either (centre top… which still looks better than any of the satin-bound ones, I suppose)). Gertie’s, however, did… with the caveat that it’s almost entirely hand-sewn. Only the initial rectangle was sewn by machine (bottom right two buttonholes, one in red, one in black).

This is pretty much par for the course for me. Precision=hand-sewing. I don’t really mind hand-sewing, fortunately (after hand-beading bellydance accessories, anything else is a piece of cake). Still, it would be nice someday to be able to be precise and speedy. Like, say, Sherry ;).

Ah, well. I showed Tyo the buttonholes and she likes the black contrast lips, so I expect we’ll go that route.


Filed under Sewing